Love vs In Love: What’s The Real Difference?

Throughout your lifetime, you are going to love so many people — your family, your friends, your partners, your pets. However, most people are only in love with one person at a time. This is the person you cannot stop thinking about. They’re always on your mind because they’re your top priority. Their happiness is your main concern in life, and all you want to do is spend time with them. Here are some key differences between loving someone and being in love with someone–or in other words, loving someone who gives you butterflies and being in true, romantic love with your soulmate:

You feel at ease in each other’s company. 

When you love someone, you feel butterflies in your stomach. You get nervous when they walk into the room and have trouble hiding your excitement to see them. But when you’re in love with someone, you’re comfortable around them. They make you feel like you’re in a safe place. You know you can trust them with your secrets. You can tell them anything that is on your mind. You don’t have to hide your real self because they would never judge you. They love the real you and nothing is going to change that fact.

You enjoy spending time with them, even when those times are tough.

When you love someone, you want to make them laugh. You want to experience a million little fun, exciting moments together. You want your days to be an adventure. When you’re in love with someone, you don’t mind when bad days get in the way of having a good time. You love them, regardless of what they’ve been through in the past or are facing in the present.

When you’re in love, you’re happy to stand by their side while they navigate through rough waters. You aren’t going to run away when things get hard. You want to be there for them, through good times and bad. In a romantic relationship that is built to last, a few obstacles aren’t going to chase you away.

You’re into them, even once the honeymoon phase ends.

Sometimes, we think we’re in love with someone when a relationship is new and fresh. It’s easy to get swept up in lust and infatuation, assuming it must be love since you’re experiencing such intense feelings. However, real love isn’t flimsy or fleeting.

Real love is about accepting and admiring the other person once you see the real, flawed version of them. Once the rose-colored glasses come off, it’s easier to tell whether you’re in love with them or the idea of them. Letting go of old fantasies makes room for the reality of your relationship.

You want to know everything about them.

When you love someone, you’re desperate to touch them. You want to hold hands, make out, and cuddle in bed together. However, being in love is about more than chemistry. Although you won’t want to take your hands off each other, you’ll also want to learn more about each other.

You’ll be interested in hearing stories about their past and uncovering what makes them tick. Their thoughts and opinions will matter to you. You’ll want to hear their takes on movies, music, and the world as a whole. They are the first person you’ll want to run to with good news and bad news.

You want to be with them and only them.

When you love someone, you’re excited to get a text from them or spend some quality time together. However, you’re also okay with going days without speaking to them. They aren’t a major part of your world yet, so it’s normal for you to have space. You don’t want to be too clingy. You don’t want to overstep your boundaries. You give them plenty of freedom.

However, when you’re in love, this other person is always on your mind. When you’re apart, you’re still thinking about them. You crave alone time and have trouble lasting long without texting them. You’re always counting down the moments until you see them again because they’re the highlight of your day. No matter how much time you spend with them, it’s never enough, and you don’t care if they know it. You scream your love from the rooftops.

ou learn how to communicate with them properly.

When you first fall in love, you won’t know how to communicate with each other. You might even hold back your feelings in order to protect your partner’s feelings. You might pretend you’re fine to avoid having an argument. However, when you’re in love with someone, communication becomes incredibly important.

A couple’s life will get easier when they learn each other’s love language. This will allow you to speak freely and connect on a deeper level. Although it takes extra effort to learn your partner’s communication style, it shows that you’re genuinely in love with them. You’re willing to put in the work that wasn’t really necessary in the early stages of a relationship.

You’re excited about your future together.

When you love someone, you spend a lot of time living in the moment. You enjoy the now because you’re having a wonderful time together and don’t want the excitement to end. When you’re in love with someone, you still enjoy the present, but you also start planning out your future together. You get excited about what’s to come, whether that’s marriage or moving in together or going on vacation. You start picturing them in your world for the long haul.

You enjoy accomplishing mundane tasks together.

When you love someone, you want every single day to be a spontaneous adventure. You want to make out at concerts and the backseats of movie theaters. You want to hold hands at ice skating rinks and stay out past midnight bar hopping. You want your dates to be filled with wonderful surprises. However, when you’re in love, you enjoy the more mundane moments. You have fun grocery shopping and building furniture together. You enjoy spending time together, no matter what you might be doing.

You make them a permanent fixture of your world.

When you love someone, you’ll introduce them to your friends. You’ll have fun partying together on weekends and will post about how much you adore them on social media. However, when you’re in love with someone, you’ll bring them home for the holidays. You’ll introduce them to distant family members. You’ll include them on holiday and birthday cards. You’ll start attaching your name to theirs because the relationship isn’t temporary. It’s a serious, long-term relationship that you’re fully committed to making work. Together, you’ll create wonderfully sustainable joy.

You’re willing to grow together and work as a team.

You might love someone who is standing in front of you right now. But if you’re in love with someone, you’re going to want to meet every single version of them. You’ll want to grow together, struggle together, and heal together. You’ll want to support them with any changes they’re interested in making and grow alongside them. You won’t expect them to remain the same for the rest of your life. You’ll encourage them to blossom into the person they were always meant to become.

You are willing to put effort into your relationship with them.

You might start to love someone without realizing it’s even happening. It comes naturally. You don’t even have to think about it. However, staying in romantic love is a choice. In healthy relationships, you need to choose to be there for your partner when they’re struggling, even if it’s inconvenient for you. You need to choose to compromise when you get into arguments, even though it would be easier to leave. You need to choose to make your love last because this person is more than your partner. They’re your best friend and you know they’re worth the effort.

You challenge yourself to be a better person.

When you love someone, you’re thrilled that they want you, too. You try your hardest to make a good first impression, even if that means acting fake and telling little white lies. You put on a performance in order to impress them. You don’t mind stretching the truth a bit.

However, when you’re in love with someone, you will put genuine effort into changing. After all, you want to give them the best pieces of yourself. You don’t want to trick them. You want to rise to their expectations. Whether that means working on breaking bad habits or visiting a family therapist, you’ll do whatever you need to do to make this person happy. And your person will feel the same way when it comes to their own personal growth.

You feel one-hundred percent comfortable by their side.

When you love someone, you might be worried about what they think. You might be trying hard to impress them. However, when you’re in love with someone, you trust that they feel the same way. You won’t necessarily feel butterflies anymore — but that’s not a bad thing. You aren’t constantly worried about whether they’re going to leave. You have a deep connection that you believe will last a lifetime.

When you’re in romantic love with someone special, your trust grows stronger every single day. You don’t doubt each other because you trust that your love life is strong. Your connection is unbreakable. Your bond is forever.

The most wonderful difference between loving someone versus being in love with someone is how comfortable you feel together. Your initial feelings won’t go away as time passes. They’ll only grow stronger. It’s safe to say, neither of you is going anywhere. Even if there’s a problem, you’ll take the steps to fix it. You’ll work as a team, as partners, not as enemies.

By Holly Riordan

Thought Catalog

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